Coming from a musical family, Gabriel Ohene Kwasi Addai is a gifted songwriter, rapper, and singer; from Takoradi, in Ghana. He was born to photographer and choirmaster George Addai and Veronica Phyllis Aikins, a secretary and an alto lead. On October 22, 2021, Gabriel who is known in the music world by his stage name SpOOkyThEManiaC and a song of his titled ‘Spaces’ got picked by Twitter Spaces as their theme song.
SpOOkyThEManiaC started his music career under heavy influence from his parents who were both musically gifted. According to Oral Ofori who is his US-based publicist, Gabriel over the past decade had been busy seriously fine-tuning his musical talents and skills and so they were both taken aback by the pleasant surprise that his ‘Spaces’ track which was made independently and with no influence from Twitter Spaces had attracted the attention of a global social media giant.
“For him, social media has been a real push, and he has been following its trends to make his music more marketable. He networks a lot there too and is super savvy when it comes to the respective social media platforms. Gabriel will always say to me that ‘social media is a goldmine, you never know where you will strike treasure, so we must keep digging’ and I totally believed that. So when he found his big break we were both shocked, happy, and overwhelmed that it happened at a time we all least expected,” said Mr. Ofori about his and SpOOkyThEManiaC’s feelings.
At the tail end of 2020, The new social media feature called Twitter Spaces was introduced, which he flowed quickly with since he was an ardent fan. His experiences on the platform were so profound and beneficial that he on his own decided to give back to the community that had given him hope and a sense of belonging as a young and upcoming musician who has few resources and his family and close friends plus a few kind names in the industry as his biggest fans. “When Gabriel set out to record a song for Twitter Spaces oh his own even without the knowledge of the app makers he was more excited about its eponymous name than having it picked and given global attention — he just wanted to have fun doing something he loved and giving back to a community he loves so much,” revealed his Publicist Mr. Ofori in a phone conversation.
Finding space to create Spaces and then it leaked?
The Spaces song was recorded in the early part of 2021 but was still being perfected for the right moment. The song was about the experience of Twitter Spaces as a community and how it helped people interact amid the pandemic. SpOOkyThEManiaC worked with the producer of his label (TieMat Records) Mr. Tieku Obeng on the instrumentation of the song.
The video also had to tell the story of community building Spooky thought, so he got friends and family on the Twitter Spaces platform to send videos of themselves using the app while enjoying the music. He even sold the Ghanaian culture further by getting authentic Bonwire Kente to friends in the US and Canada which were also portrayed in the video. He was so passionate about it and didn’t care about the cost it came at, he just needed to find the right people in the right spaces, literally, for the right impact.
Michael Jagdeo, a head hunter from Guyana but now based in Canada did the editing of the video with help from Autism Advocate and Consultant Kimberly Kay-Scott. Also in on the action was Kalyjay who is a fellow Spaces enthusiast and a verified Twitter account holder from Ghana with over half a million followers. The others are Queen Ashjo, Matthew Kadiri, Asiedu Mends, Joselin Mane, Nicholas Mauro, Ayimah Boakye, Comedian Waris who is a multi-award-winning Ghanaian comedian, Sabrina Shrader, Max Kente, and MrGreyGh amongst others who were all great contributors to the #Spaces song.
“It all came as a shock to me when Twitter Spaces reached out because the circumstances in which the song and its video dropped were far from what we had planned,” SpOOkyThEManiaC said with a weird tone in his voice about how the project was leaked, explaining that “I posted the song after a friend of mine leaked it under Kalyjay’s tweet and in just a few hours later, Twitter reached out to me through Kalyjay and made the song their official theme song. No one had this idea to make the Twitter spaces theme song so it’s an idea that is originally mine in its conception and execution so I was out of 8 billion people the one with this idea and it surprisingly got picked up by Twitter Spaces even though I had not been asked by them to do it” he finished explaining, still overwhelmed with joy for the ‘one in eight billion’ opportunity he got from Twitter.
“I got nothing but love for you…”
Succeeding this big recognition, he expressed his appreciation to those who believed in him from day one. And those who also passed negative comments on his posts and works, he said they only made him stronger, emphasizing that “I got nothing but love for you all no matter what u thought of me.” He believes tough times don’t last but tough people do, and that he had been a byproduct of years of constant toil. Meaning, of course, he would not be stopping at one recognition, alluding to his next release.
“I plan to release new music soon, but before then I’m working with Atmbtzgotjuice on remixes with Caribbean artists for a carnival in Trinidad.”
Staying up late at night when others are sleeping has not been an easy route to success, but has been a tenacity and persistence that pays off. SpOOkyThEManiaC advised fellow artists to invest quality time in their craft, to master their skills through constant learning, and to also, get to know the right people in the field is as well as fully understanding the business, media and marketing aspects of the industry. “You don’t need money always, sometimes you just need the right people to believe in you, which is why networking is key.”
He emphasized that making a breakthrough is not easy, but at the same time, growth is gradual, so he’s not resting ever but will be mindful of that needed occasional break to spend time with close loved ones. In his words; “Dreams do come through but you have to wake up to realize them”.
Find Gabriel as @SpOOkyThEManiaC on all social media platforms where you can send him direct messages and stay rest assured that he will respond, he’s not that spooky once you get to know him, he’s just a talented musical maniac who is passionate about his craft which he believes will one day take him to space — for now you will remember him when u see or hear Spaces on Twitter. To listen to more of his work check out his Spotify and Apple music.
Written by Kwame Asante Ofori